'Shawn Says': Jr. Middleweight Prospect Shawn Porter Speaks on Title Shot, Pacquiao
By Vivek Wallace - Rising Jr. Middleweight prospect Shawn Porter (photo by snaplocally.com) is a man that many see as the 'creme' of his prospect class, destined for the top, with many big things along the way. Tonight, he'll step in the ring for a career defining shot at his first title (NABO), and as he closed out this very important fight camp, he took a few moments out to talk to me about not only this moment in time, but also his future, as well as a past that includes a close relationship with a man who many view to be the best in the biz. That man? None other than Filipino P4P contender, Manny Pacquiao. Here's what Shawn Porter had to say:
Article posted on 20.02.2010
Vivek W. (ESB): How's it going, Shawn? Obviously Friday night is a big night for you. Now that camp is all wrapped up, how did things go in your preparation for this important fight?
Shawn P.: Great camp! One of the best camps we've ever done. We went out to the Wild-Card out in Los Angeles for about 4 1/2 weeks and got it on with a couple big left-handers in the gym, so at this point, we feel we're ready for anything..
Vivek W. (ESB): Many fight fans out there know of you, but don't really know the details surrounding your story, so this next question will serve as somewhat a snapshot of that evolution to bring things full circle. At what point in life did you decide that you wanted to do this for a living and who were some of your childhood influenced those thoughts?
Shawn P.: Of course, right now, I'd have to say Manny Pacquiao. Just from being in the ring with him and watching him, but growing up, I would have to say Marvin Hagler. He was my favorite fighter growing up, and I consider myself to have a style similar to his as a result of it.
Vivek W. (ESB): Yeah, you have to love that type of fightin' spirit. Marvin was a warrior. Now, one thing many of us in the media talk about behind the scenes is the tendency for some promoters/managers to rush young fighters along too quickly. Cintron/Angulo was probably a good example of that. Right now, you're 12-0, 10KO's, and about to step in the ring for your first title shot. In your own words, what makes Shawn Porter ready for this career defining moment?
Shawn P.: This is something I was made for. Something I was prepared for basically all of my life. I started in the gym when I was pretty small, and started competing when I was 8 years old. So, it's just something I was made and bred for. So, with me and my Dad, there's no such thing as "moving too fast" in this sport.
Vivek W. (ESB): Ok, I want to shift the focus quickly. Many that didn't know you before certainly wanted to after the praise from both Freddie Roach and Manny Pacquiao. Obviously you helped him get ready for Miguel Cotto. Tell me, what was it like in your words to watch a once-in-a-lifetime athlete like Pacquiao up close on a daily basis?
Shawn P.: It was unbelievable to watch him work, see his work ethics, and what he does in preparation. So, I'm basically just taking a lot of things from him and adding them to my ring knowledge, but it was just really exciting to watch.
Vivek W. (ESB): Alot of us have seen the HBO 24/7 clips of guys curled over in pain and bleeding profusely, but you were one of the few that were durable enough to last a full camp after those grueling sessions. Tell me, how good is Manny Pacquiao.
Shawn P. For me, he was definitely one of the strongest I've ever been around. He's definitely the creme of the crop. Everything was there. Stamina, the quickness....he's just unbelievable.
Vivek W. (ESB): You hit it right on the button because that's what he is...a phenomenal athlete. Even when I've seen him on the basketball court out west, he's just a helluva athlete with major skills out there.
Shawn P.: Yeah! I played ball with him on that night of the Super Bowl. He hit a few shots in my eye, I snatched a few boards over his back. But we had a great time hustlin' out there and I had a chance to see a different side of his stamina that was amazing.
Vivek W. (ESB): Now....with you being a member of the Pacquiao camp, obviously you're aware of the accusations surrounding him, relative to banned substances. Me personally, I can't be a hypocrite, I'm one of the people that has found reason to at least feel suspicious. Do I think he used banned substances? I would like to say no and there's no proof. Do I think many things he and his camp did made him look a bit suspicious? Absolutely. But you were around him, and you saw things much closer than many of us. What would you say to those that think Pacquiao is using banned substances?
Shawn P.: Well, with me being in the ring with him 3 times a week there was no change. The way he punched, everything remained the same. There was no 'matrix' element involved at all with him. He's just an amazing athlete. One thing I like is that he recently started wearing this shirt that says "100% God, No Steroids". And I really believe he just puts God first in all that he does. So, trust me, there's nothing going on there.
Vivek W. (ESB): Yeah, this whole thing was a bit odd to handle for me. I've supported him immensely through the years, and my son is easily his biggest fan to the east of the Mississippi (laughs)! But, what bothered me was that I've never seen an athlete say "I know the world wants this fight and I know that I have 40 Million dead presidents on the table, but I won't cater to another mans demands - and subsequently pay to clear his name outside the ring rather than be paid to clear his name inside of it. I just didn't think that added up. But that was from the outside looking in and I respect that we don't always see and know everything, so I think it benefits to not only get, but help publicize the opinions of those that are closer to the situation rather than continue to speak on speculation. But anyhow, before we wrap up, I would like to know what parting words you have for those out there that have followed you over the years - and even those that didn't until now?
Shawn P.: I am an exciting fighter, I'm ready for this moment, and I expect to have many more with God's will. So please, check me out, you won't be disappointed.
(SHAWN PORTER WILL FIGHT LIVE TONIGHT ON ESPN'S FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS. CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS FOR FIGHT TIMES)
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEK747), Facebook and Myspace).
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